"I am trying to reinvent North African cooking," French-Algerian chef Farid Zadi tells Grub Street about the style of cuisine he’s been working on for six years. The Rhone-born toque thinks it’s about time the region’s cooking had a place in Los Angeles, which he notes has the "same sunny climate as the coast of Algeria," making it ideal for his dedication to locally sourced, all natural ingredients. Having worked as an exec chef and general manager around the globe, Zadi says he once cooked at La Cachette thirteen years ago, and only recently left his job teaching at Cordon Bleu. After organizing the two-day couscous festival earlier this month, he met an investor interested in taking his cooking to L.A.’s public. Zadi tells us that he’s currently looking around Downtown, La Brea, and Los Feliz to start his own North African restaurant, a concept that will be very upscale on top and somewhat more casual down below. What will you eat here?
Zadi seeks to unite the cuisines of North Africa, concerned that lingering stereotypes that "Tunisians don’t like Morrocan food, Morrocans don’t like Algerian food…I’m bringing them all together." Starting at our local markets, where he says he "can find anything," except maybe Algerian olive oil, the chef stays committed to cooking local natural ingredients, with everything from scratch. He makes his own merguez, breads, and spice mixtures for an edible encyclopedia of the region’s cuisine, whether it’s street food, his "mom’s home-cooking," or combining North African cuisine with French technique. He doesn’t yet have a name for the restaurant or a location, but already has an early menu worked out.
This Sunday at Test Kitchen, he’ll try out a few of the recipes on a six-course menu with shrimp ceviche aside couscous tabouli, a tagine of basmati paella with merguez and clams, and sous vide beef cheeks with Ras el hanout spices. See the full $55 menu below and make reservations at 310-277-0133 or online.
A modern Take on North African Cuisine
at Test Kitchen
October 31st, 2010
Six courses $55
-North African Bread, Salad, and Dips
-Couscous tabouli, shrimp ceviche, microgreens
- Chicken and Marcona Almond Pastilla
-Merguez, clam, basmatti rice “paella” sur tagine
- Ras el hanout Beef Cheeks, cooked sous vide, Braised baby turnips
- Almond pastries, orange and hibiscus syrup, mint tea granita